Apr 25, 2020 - Health

Business to warn against patchwork rules

Mike Allen, author of AM

Maryland State Police Detective Steve Dulski gets a trim at Old Line Barbers in Bel Air after Gov. Larry Hogan let essential employees get haircuts. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will send a letter next week urging President Trump, governors, mayors and county officials to work together on consistent rules for a staged reopening, Neil Bradley, the chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer, told me in a phone interview.

What Bradley is saying: "As much as possible, we want them to mirror each other, and not have needless differences" on such matters as temperature checks, Bradley said.

A draft of the letter says: "[W]e urge you to refrain from converting public health and safety guidance into regulations."

  • "Second, we encourage you to the maximum extent possible to ensure guidance is generally consistent across our federal, state, and local governments.”

Bradley told me that after consulting businesses and partners in all 50 states, he sees three ways that reopening America could be fumbled:

  1. Substituting bureaucracy for proven best practices, with "overly prescriptive" guidelines or regulations about new rules for the workplace.
  2. Business could quickly "become paralyzed by a patchwork of differing requirements at different levels of government." On a conference call with Bradley yesterday, a utility executive talked about tracking requirements in 2,000 jurisdictions, each with its own little twist.
  3. Employers could be frozen by fear of what Bradley called "frivolous lawsuits," such as employees or customers saying they were exposed to the virus in a workplace. Federal or state legislation may be needed, Bradley said.

Go deeper: The risk of reopening too soon

Go deeper

May 31, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country

Protestors rally in Minneapolis. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Health experts fear that massive protests against police brutality in major cities around the United States could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has already recorded more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world. A potential surge in cases stemming from the protests would come as many states are weeks into their phased reopening plans.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Health experts fear that the protests breaking out across the U.S. could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

The state of play: Being outside may limit the danger, but close quarters, yelling, and potential exposure to tear gas, which causes coughing and crying, increase the risk of spread. It's recommended that those who are protesting be tested for the coronavirus.

Increased armed presence planned for D.C. tonight

Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Government officials say plans are in place for a significantly heavier armed presence on the streets of Washington, D.C. tonight in response to the increasingly violent protests linked to the death of George Floyd.

The big picture: Despite Trump's endorsement of Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) idea of deploying active-duty military forces, including the 101st Airborne, there are no current plans to federalize forces to deal with riots across the country.